international football

Super Cup: Barcelona look to prove that they can be deadly even without Neymar

There’ as Barcelona and Real Madrid ready themselves for the Spanish Super Cup

Barcelona host Real Madrid in the Spanish football season’s opening act in the Super Cup, first leg on Sunday (20:00 GMT) needing to dispel doubts they have fallen further behind their rivals following Neymar’s departure.

The Brazilian’s world record €222 million euro (Rs 1681 crore) move to Paris Saint-Germain just days before the start of the campaign deprives a Barca side that missed out to Madrid for the Spanish title for the first time in five years last season one of their most dangerous weapons.

Barca’s immediate attempts to find a replacement in Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund have so far fallen short.

New Barca coach Ernesto Valverde therefore has a tactical conundrum on his Camp Nou bow to fill the void alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez up front.

And influential defender Gerard Pique admitted Barca must compensate for Neymar’s absence collectively rather than looking for a saviour in the transfer market.

“More than replacing him, we have to make ourselves stronger. There isn’t a replacement for Neymar in the market,” said Pique, who also recognised on Saturday his desperate attempts at talking Neymar out of moving had failed.

Pique is hoping Barca will be motivated by the pain of missing out to Madrid for the biggest titles last season as Real also became the first side to retain the Champions League.

“When your rivals win more than you, you have to turn the situation around,” added Pique.

“History shows we have known how to do that, but history also shows you can’t always win.”

Recent clashes between the two do favour Barca. The last time the sides met in competitive action back in April the Catalans emerged victorious at the Santiago Bernabeu even without the then suspended Neymar as Messi won an incredible encounter 3-2 with the last kick of the game.

Barca also edged last month’s Miami friendly between the two in Neymar’s last game for Barca 3-2.

“The friendly game during the tour is a reference point,” said Valverde. “But it is different now there is a title at stake.”

Gerard Deulofeu scored and provided two assists in just 45 minutes in Neymar’s role as Barca completed their pre-season preparations by sweeping aside Chapecoense 5-0 on Monday.

However, Valverde also has the option to strengthen Barca’s midfield by sacrificing a forward to add Sergi Roberto to the normal midfield three of Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta.

Ronaldo ‘ready’ to return

Madrid’s relentless winning streak under Zinedine Zidane continued in midweek as Los Blancos beat Manchester United 2-1 to win the UEFA Super Cup 2-1.

Casemiro and Isco were on target as Madrid’s midfield dazzled in Skopje, Macedonia, but Zidane will be forced into at least one change from the side that started in midweek as Luka Modric is suspended.

Mateo Kovacic is the favourite to replace his Croatian teammate in midfield.

However, Modric’s absence increases Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances of returning to the Madrid starting XI after making just a brief cameo appearance as a substitute against his former club in Macedonia.

Ronaldo only returned to training with his teammates last weekend on their return from a tour of the USA having been given an extended break following Portugal’s participation in the Confederations Cup and a court appearance in Madrid over allegations of tax evasion.

“He had his holiday and has been with us only five or six days, but physically he worked very hard during his holidays and he is ready,” said Zidane.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

When did we start parenting our parents?

As our parents grow older, our ‘adulting’ skills are tested like never before.

From answering every homework question to killing every monster under the bed, from soothing every wound with care to crushing anxiety by just the sound of their voice - parents understandably seemed like invincible, know-it-all superheroes all our childhood. It’s no wonder then that reality hits all of a sudden, the first time a parent falls and suffers a slip disc, or wears a thick pair of spectacles to read a restaurant menu - our parents are growing old, and older. It’s a slow process as our parents turn from superheroes to...human.

And just as slow to evolve are the dynamics of our relationship with them. Once upon a time, a peck on the cheek was a frequent ritual. As were handmade birthday cards every year from the artistically inclined, or declaring parents as ‘My Hero’ in school essays. Every parent-child duo could boast of an affectionate ritual - movie nights, cooking Sundays, reading favourite books together etc. The changed dynamic is indeed the most visible in the way we express our affection.

The affection is now expressed in more mature, more subtle ways - ways that mimics that of our own parents’ a lot. When did we start parenting our parents? Was it the first time we offered to foot the electricity bill, or drove them to the doctor, or dragged them along on a much-needed morning walk? Little did we know those innocent acts were but a start of a gradual role reversal.

In adulthood, children’s affection for their parents takes on a sense of responsibility. It includes everything from teaching them how to use smartphones effectively and contributing to family finances to tracking doctor’s appointments and ensuring medicine compliance. Worry and concern, though evidence of love, tend to largely replace old-fashioned patterns of affection between parents and children as the latter grow up.

It’s something that can be easily rectified, though. Start at the simplest - the old-fashioned peck on the cheek. When was the last time you gave your mom or dad a peck on the cheek like a spontaneous five-year-old - for no reason at all? Young parents can take their own children’s behaviour available as inspiration.

As young parents come to understand the responsibilities associated with caring for their parents, they also come to realise that they wouldn’t want their children to go through the same challenges. Creating a safe and secure environment for your family can help you strike a balance between the loving child in you and the caring, responsible adult that you are. A good life insurance plan can help families deal with unforeseen health crises by providing protection against financial loss. Having assurance of a measure of financial security for family can help ease financial tensions considerably, leaving you to focus on being a caring, affectionate child. Moreover,you can eliminate some of the worry for your children when they grow up – as the video below shows.


To learn more about life insurance plans available for your family, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.